Thread: Coasting Chief

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    Question Coasting Chief

    We have a Chief that has 5 years left, and has no interest in making our department any better. We are a 14-man department and for the most part, we want to make the department what it could be, but the chief is OKAY with the station staying status quo. He has gotten worse since we added an Assistance Chief 2 years ago. The A/C wants to make changes, but the chief wonít let him. We have different ways to bring in some revenue, but that would cause extra paperwork for the chief, and he wont allow it.Does any one have any suggestions? Morale is really low right now.

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    Bring in revenue? This a volunteer department? If so vote the bum out.
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    Smile Need More Info......................

    Thanks for your post, but we could use a bit more info. First, I can't imagine a 14 person Fire Department even existing. How do you get anything done with a Max of 14 people? Are you Paid or Volunteer? How do you have a Chief "with 5 years left"?? Lots of questions here.
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    Default Coasting Chief

    We are a career department. We have a Chief a A/C, 3 line Captains and 9 firefighters. How do we get any thing done? We are very lucky. We run first responder for the transporting EMS service along with extrication and all of the regular fire fighting and safety duties. The Chief has 5 years left before he can retire. The Chief thinks that his job is safe so why worry.

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    Unfortunatly, I have seen this first hand twice. They dont want to rock the boat and risk their pentions. Cant really blame them. The only thing you can do is ride it out and make your plans for when he's gone.

    BTW, my last department had one station, one engine, one reserve engine, 6 full time FF's (including the Chief) about a dozen PT FF's and about the same number of volunteers. We also had one FF/medic from the department I work for now each shift. So yes, they do exist.
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    Smile Thanks Dave...........................

    Thanks for the updates. Dave, you had twice as many people as TiredFF. His numbers make it look like they run a single Engine, with 4 people at the most, on a 24/7 basis. That's scary, or should be, for the community that they serve.
    Never use Force! Get a Bigger Hammer.
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    Asst. Chief John R. Woods Sr. 1937 - 2006

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    All too familiar....a coasting chief. We have a few more than 14 FFs (we have 60).

    If you are not already organized with the IAFF, you need to do so. Contact your state association to help you with this.

    Try to have positive communications with this chief. Get him to see the point of view of the membership. If he is still closed minded, keep a proffessional raport with him, but make him understand you will continue to strive for progress.

    Now, you need to open a dialog with your city/town officials. Make sure you give the facts, don't go in there and start MFing the chief and slinging mud. They will shut you off quicker than your head can spin. Be ready to present solutions to the problems you have. Start a local PAC, and come election time support firefighter friendly candidates and have your chief removed.

    Get invloved with your community. Have members join civic groups, form PubEd programs, open houses. Keep it all positive. Get the support of the public, then when the time is right, inform them of your issues and how it affects them. If public opinion of your organization is positive, then when it hits the fan they will stand behind you. And they will prove this by voting for the public officals that support you.

    Your membership needs to be united....remember bargain collectively...
    otherwise you end up begging seperately. If you are not united in the beginning, you will end up arguing/fighting with each other. Then you'll look like azzholes to the public and they will think you guys are just bitching and wonder why they are paying you guys to sleep.

    Utilize your state association and IAFF reps. Thats what we pay dues for. They have a wealth of information/resources and have been in your shoes before.


    fielsdeng2

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    Default Re: Thanks Dave...........................

    Originally posted by hwoods
    Thanks for the updates. Dave, you had twice as many people as TiredFF. His numbers make it look like they run a single Engine, with 4 people at the most, on a 24/7 basis. That's scary, or should be, for the community that they serve.
    Scary, but it happens in alot of places.

    The community I live in, as well as a neighboring community run their engine with three, and their tower with two. Add in a full time chief for any "working incident" and that's what they have for staffing 24/7. The community I live in is lucky to have the ambulance served by part-timers during the "peeak hours" so that leaves all five firefighters doing suppression.

    The community next door to me just lost one firefighter within their staffing due to budget issues. The position that was cut was one of four new positions that were created last year. Cutting public safety was one of the last things they considered. In fact, if the budget for that city doesn't pass tomorrow, public safety will be the only departments that are under "full staffing". Full staffing for the FD is now 2 or 3 on an engine, and 2 on the tower ladder.

    Edit:

    This may be the way it is here for now, but I definately don't like the situation.

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    We kinda have a department like that in my area. We have a department that runs 2 manned stations with 3 each on an engine with 3 shifts and they have a paid chief and paid asst. chief. Then on top of that they have maybe a handful of volunteers but mostly you only hear the paid staff respond. Their chief has been there forever and the department is a "family affair" so he thinks that he is safe.

    Best thing to do is either ride it out and wait or try to present your information to the higher ups in the city government.

    On a side note, about the 14 member department. There is a department in St Louis County called Glendale Fire Department. They protect the cities of Glendale and Wildwood. They run one ALS equipped rescue pumper. They have 3 men engine crews rotating in 3 shifts, plus a paid chief and I believe a paid asst. chief and administrative secretary. So yeah, there are departments out there that have very few personel.

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    I agree it is scary.
    We are lucky that we have some good departments around that we can call in mutual aid if we need them. The biggest problem we have is the Chief donít want to pay any over time. We have made to comments that the overtime is very little compared to the cost of an injury.
    We have tried saying if he gives us permission we would do the paper work and take on the extra responsibility to bring some extra funds but that donít work either.
    We have tried dealing with IAFF in some other issues but we only get the run-around from them and we have a state officer on the department.

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    Default Re: Coasting Chief

    Originally posted by TiredFFI
    We are a career department. We have a Chief a A/C, 3 line Captains and 9 firefighters. How do we get any thing done? We are very lucky. We run first responder for the transporting EMS service along with extrication and all of the regular fire fighting and safety duties. The Chief has 5 years left before he can retire. The Chief thinks that his job is safe so why worry.
    Sure they're out there...I had to check TiredFFI's profile to see if he was from a neighboring department just to our north...then I realized that the department I'm thinking of is even a little worse off....A paid chief and assistant chief, 3 captains, and 6 firefighters. They run 3 man shifts (captain and 2 FF's). They have a small volunteer component, maybe 6-10 people at most.

    For most calls they 2 on the engine and 1 on the rescue...even for medical calls they run both units, just so the whole shift will be together if they get another call.

    If they're at the station when a structure fire comes in, all 3 will get on the engine. That will be the whole response, too, most of the time...just the one engine. Their protocols call for the volunteers to roll a second unit, but that rarely happens. Mutual aid (us) gets called when they get something big.

    Although I wouldn't put the chief of this department in the same category as the chief he is describing, the makeup of the rest of the department sounds similar.

    I know it sucks because I used to do some part-time work there a couple of years back....
    Chief Dwayne LeBlanc
    Paincourtville Volunteer Fire Department
    Paincourtville, LA

    "I have a dream. It's not a big dream, it's just a little dream. My dream ó and I hope you don't find this too crazy ó is that I would like the people of this community to feel that if, God forbid, there were a fire, calling the fire department would actually be a wise thing to do. You can't have people, if their houses are burning down, saying, 'Whatever you do, don't call the fire department!' That would be bad."
    ó C.D. Bales, "Roxanne"

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    Unhappy Well................

    Kinda looks like I steered Tired's Thread off course. I Apoligize. I'm getting quite an education here, but the knowledge is scary. I'll start another thread so this discussion of "One Engine Departments" can continue, without detracting from Tired's problem. TiredFFI, I wish I had an easy answer, but I don't. Good Luck, and hang in there.
    Never use Force! Get a Bigger Hammer.
    In memory of
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    Asst. Chief John R. Woods Sr. 1937 - 2006

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    www.gdvfd18.com

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    We have tried dealing with IAFF in some other issues but we only get the run-around from them
    Ive experienced the same thing...Saty on their azz!!!

    Sometimes you gotta remind them they were in the trenches at one time too!

    fieldseng2

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